43% of PR Pros to Boost Influencer Marketing Budgets This Year

influencer

Are your clients using influencer marketing? If not, you might want to educate them on this topic. Done properly, a good social influencer campaign can add a huge boost to your client’s bottom line.

Last year, a Linqia survey found that 86% of marketers use some form of influencer marketing. Almost all of them said these campaigns were effective. If your client has hired you to conduct PR work, you should know that nearly half (49.2%) of PR professionals already use influencers.

Back in the day, marketers paid celebrities, like athletes, to pitch their products. Some marketers still use celebrities for this purpose. But the definition of influencer marketing has evolved in the social media era. Marketers now use a variety of paid and unpaid influencers to spread their word about their brand and their products. The new PR News and Meltwater Influencer Report 2019 finds that PR pros rely on the following sources for influencer marketing:

  • Bloggers 59.17%
  • Journalists 64.5%
  • Social media influencers 76.92%
  • Celebrities 29.59%
  • Internal – employees/​spokespeople 67.46%
  • External experts 52.07%
  • Customers 53.85%

How to Use Influencers

Most marketers and PR pros (56.8%) give influencers specific guidelines for creating content. Not everyone is that strict. About 40% allow influencers to say what they want in terms of promoting the brand. In addition, about 60% of marketers incorporate influencer output into their content. 

Marketers expect the use of influencers will give them authenticity (39%) and provide credibility and validation (38%). These expectations make sense. When consumers hear an employee talk about their company’s product, or they see a video on social media posted by an individual who has used the product they’re thinking about buying, they’ll pay attention.

Paying Influencers

And speaking of pay, only about 39% of marketers give their influencers cash compensation. Other forms of compensation include free products or services and access to events (17%). When it comes to event access, some marketers pay the travel costs so influencers can attend. Overall, 40% of brands don’t compensate their influencers.

This year, 43% of PR pros will up their use of influencers on behalf of their clients. That decision may stem from the fact that 55% of brands feel that influencer marketers have delivered a return on investment. For most, 43%, ROI is measured through the increase in social engagement and interactions. Marketers also track jumps in web traffic and search volume. 

ROI measurement remains a sticking point though with 34% of brands saying they find it a challenge. At least 20% of marketers say it’s also challenging to find good influencers and nearly 19% lack the time to manage campaigns. Why not position yourself as the expert provider for these client needs? Run a digital audit, available at AdMall from SalesFuel, and then let your client know about their most shared digital content, which is often produced by influencers.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.